LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Middle and high school students across Loudoun County returned for in-person instruction on Wednesday — but for some students, it was their first time ever seeing their classroom.
“To see their faces and see their reactions when they’re walking into the building is definitely very special,” said Dr. Ryan Hitchman, Principal at Lightridge High School.
The brand new high school in Aldie finally opened its doors to students for the first time ever since its construction in 2020. The school was set to open in the fall of last year, but COVID forced the institution to remain virtual.
Lightridge welcomed 150 students who attend Tuesdays and Wednesdays and will hold another “first day of school” for the Thursday and Friday group. Students will attend two days per week in person.
“We’re just happy that we’re able to have a first day of school, finally,” said Hitchman.
The brand new building is state of the art, equipped with sneeze guards at every desk and thermal cameras.
“Our custodial team has done a great job going around sanitizing things such as hand railings, doorknobs, anything else that tends to get touched often,” said Hitchman.
COVID precautions are also being taken when it comes to the schools’ new athletic teams.
“In each practice, coaches and players are expected to maintain social distance while at practice. We suggested to pod them up so we can do contact tracing,” said Jason Treon, Athletic Director.
The 300,000 square foot space can hold over 900 students, but the school is only allowing 150 children to attend per day. However, staff and students say they’re just glad to be back.
“The building feels like it has come alive right now, it was very lonely being the only administrator here sometimes, being the only person in the building,” said Hitchman. “Just having the students and the staff here have made this day really special.”